The Consumer Category
We bring you the chic and unique, the best and most bizarre shopping offers both online and offline. We offer you tips on where to buy, and some of the less mainstream and crazy, individual and offbeat items on the internet. Anything that can be bought and sold can be featured here. And we love showcasing the best and worst art and design.
AS you’ll know there’s a move to get to the plain packaging of cigarettes. This is the rather strange idea that if we can’t associate red with Marlboro and white with Silk Cut then we’ll smoke fewer cigarettes overall. Quite why is never really explained but we are assured that it will be true.
There’s something of a problem with the idea though. Which is that abolishing branding for legal cigarettes will probably lead to more branding by illegal ones. The reason is that a brand is an identification: it tells people something about the quality, and consistency of whatever the brand is associated with.
So prevalent have some lines of Cheap Whites become in parts of the UK where the majority of cigarette sales are now non-dutied through boot sales and under-counter trades that they are establishing brand loyalties; people like cigarette characteristics they are used to, in terms of taste, strength, throat-feel, acridity and so on, and when they find an illegal brand that mimics, say, Superkings will stick with it.
Which offers the intriguing possibility that with the government’s moves to introduce plain packaging for the legitimate TMA members already feeling the pinch, it’s unlikely the Cheap Whites will follow step; if anything, they will surely tend to improve their pack image.
STROLLING down Memory Lane on the way to Anorak Towers, we came across an old advertisement for Spangles – the sweet signifier of choice for lazy peddlers of nostalgia.
But instead of invoking it alongside Chopper bicycles and Spacehoppers, it invoked an earlier, less innocent time, when germs were everywhere, and the role of confectionary packaging wasn’t simply to announce the Old English delights within, but to keep dirt out. ALL dirt. Yes, that includes you, Foreign Dirt, coming over year and contaminating our indigenous flavours.
THEY say not to judge a book by its cover, but I think it’s pretty safe to say all of these books are horrible without ever turning a page. That being said, it’s sometimes fun to check out some good old fashioned paperback trash – so let’s have a look.
Perhaps this is a prequel to the William Burrough’s classic, Naked Lunch. I suggest, then, a third volume called Naked Supper and make it a trilogy.
THE MAN WHO SAID NO
You mean they actually found the guy who said no to sex? I thought it was just an urban legend……. Oh, wait…. I’ve just been informed it’s a false alarm. He didn’t say “no”; he was merely clearing his throat. It’s all been a big mistake. False alarm.
RONALD REAGAN: A MAN TRUE TO HIS WORD
My favorite part of Ronald Reagan: A Man True To His Word is when the president sells arms to Iran then uses the cash to fund the Nicaraguan rebels. Don’t miss the exciting climax when he completely denies it.
“Suspecting Linnie’s affairs with the others, Chris’ vanity couldn’t accept the thought of being included out because of his age.”
I think the word they’re looking for is “excluded”. Somebody get Mary S. Gooch a dictionary pronto.
I WAS A TEEN-AGE DWARF
No offense to those short of stature, but this title puts the vertically challenged on par with being a werewolf or Frankenstein. (Note: This is a Dobie Gillis novel, so it was actually pretty popular in its day.)
KISS MY FIST!
Damn! Those hardboiled pulp fiction novels could get to be pretty brutal, but this is extreme. Just be glad I didn’t show you the back cover where he karate chops a kitten.
SWEET DADDY: THE STORY OF A PIMP
I think there’s been a mistake. The title should read something like: Sweet Daddy: The Story of a Tax Attorney. I’m no authority on pimps, but I think they could have chosen a guy who looks a lot more “pimp like”.
BURT REYNOLDS HOT LINE: THE LETTERS I GET AND WRITE!
I doubt Burt even noticed the naked woman attached to his backside. In the 1970s, nude females collected on Burt’s body like barnacles. Lucky bastard.
COUCH OF DESIRE
Forget 50 Shades of Grey, I recommend Couch of Desire (truthfully, it’s probably written better). But if the eroticism is just too extreme for your tastes, I suggest the much lighter read, Beanbag Chair of Friendship.
GOOD NIGHT SWEET DYKE
A perfect end to our reading list of shame. Good night, dear reader.
MEN’S fashion is an endless source of point-and-laugh fun. In this instalment, we hard back to the 1970s, wherein the Onesie For Him was knocking them bandy in the boardroom and bedroom.
Do say: With your Onesie, you look macho and more ready for action than an aroused Playgirl stud. Nice moustache.
Don’t say: Ha-ha. It’s a babygro, you muppet!
THE worst cereal of all time, for me, has always been Grape-Nuts (AKA aquarium gravel). Yet, as I grew older, I actually came to like these granular pellets which look like they belong at the bottom of a fish tank. Tastes evolve.
I say this to underscore the fact that this list is purely subjective. Yet, it’s still fun to poke through the vast arrays of breakfast cereals from years past and single out the worst of the worst. I apologize up front if I am besmirching your cherished childhood favorite, but it simply must be done. And so here they are – the definitive list of the absolute worst breakfast cereals of all time (in no particular order). Enjoy.
1. Triple Snack (1963)
I’m not sure about the idea of roasted peanuts in cereal. Almonds are fine, but you start tossing roasted peanuts into the mix, and things get weird.
2. Pink Panther Flakes (1973)
The corn flakes were bubblegum colored, which is bad enough, but the cereal became notorious for rapidly losing its color. Almost as soon as the milk hit the flakes, the bubblegum color ran off, leaving behind soggy albino flakes. Your breakfast started so full of promise, with the brilliant pink hue signaling good tidings ahead. Fast forward a few seconds, and you’re eating your soggy albino flakes in quiet disappointment.
3. Donkey Kong (1982)
The taste was not bad; it was the texture that presented problems. Many will recall the “barrels’ scraped the roof of your mouth like a mouthful of broken glass. To be fair, after repeated spoonfuls, your throat and mouth would swell and become inflamed enough to no longer feel the sharp pain. So, enjoying the cereal wasn’t entirely impossible.
4. Punch Crunch
“Little pink rings with a big pink flavor just like fruit punch… a dandy part of a nutritious breakfast.”
At what stage of desperation do you have to be in to attempt a punch flavored cereal? Was Captain Crunch suffering from scurvy when he concocted this vitamin C inspired cereal? It would seem to be the only rational explanation.
5. Sir Grapefellow (1972)
There are just certain flavors that don’t belong in a cold milk cereal. Thus, as much as we may happen to like bacon and pizza, it doesn’t mean they will make for good cereal flavorings. Someone should have told General Mills that grapes fall into that same category.
6. Corn Flakes with Instant Bananas (1964)
This one was discontinued in ’66 due to problems with the preservation and freeze drying of the bananas. Apparently, Kellog’s hadn’t yet perfected the fancy carcinogenic preservatives and dyes we all take for granted today. Upon the addition of milk, the “bananas” turned into shriveled bits of brown before your very eyes. Had the box prepared consumers and perhaps been labeled “Corn Flakes with Shriveled Bits of Brown” instead, things might’ve been different.
7. Smurf Berry Crunch
Aside from the fact that many recall a distinct iodide smell, the primary problem was what happened after it was consumed. Evidently, Smurf Berry Crunch turned your poop a brilliant purple. While that may have been a “plus” to many consumers; for most, violet poop was an unwanted side effect.
8. Norman (1971)
Very little information remains beyond first-hand accounts. Most will tell you that this BUTTER flavored cereal was the most revolting thing they’ve ever eaten. It basically amounted to small crunchy butter flavored balls which in no way went nicely with cold milk. Those unfortunate enough to have experienced this breakfast horror tell the story as one would recount a grisly battle – with hushed somber tones, a vacant stare, and an expression that belies the tragedy of it all. Our deepest respect to the poor souls who took a spoonful of Norman to their lips and lived to tell the tale.
DAVID Hasselhoff is so rock and roll. And now you can roll him into your room and rock him gentle as you straddle his back and surf along to his greatest hits as a woman in red tosses salty water in your face. You see, David Hasselhoff is selling a David Hasselhoff statue he owns at a Beverly Hills auction.
This is the Hoff who, when appearing in panto with dancing Louis Spence gave him the gifts of “A David Hasselhoff bag, Hasselhoff CD, Hasselhoff calendar and signed Hasselhoff picture” for Christmas. This is the Hoff, the man who brought down the old fault line of Europe by standing on the Berlin Wall dressed in a suit of lightbulbs, a performance of which he said: “I went to the Checkpoint Charlie museum a few years ago. There was nothing of me, and I was disappointed. Look at all these people celebrating! What about me? I was there!”
WHEN mankind emerged from the primordial ooze that was that was the 1940s, homes began a rapid upgrade. The Western nations’ economies grew in tandem with technology, and the benefits began to enter the home in the form of appliances that promised to transform the household. Now you could own a toaster – oh, the possibilities!
IN South Korea, The Diary of Anne Frank is a story of seduction, romance, 1980s fashions and a model who looks like Brian Eno.
MEET 18-year-old Stian Ytterdahl of Lørenskog, Sweden. He’s got a tattoo on his arm of the entire McDonald’s menu.
WHAT the Mad Men of advertising’s Golden Age would have made of today social media experts can only be guessed at. And our guess is they’d have made them unemployed. Anyone with a spark of creativity louder than a gnat’s fart would nowadays be hailed as social media guru.
Today’s disaster is supplied by Ribena, the sugary drink.
The Tweet copy trills:
“There’s no better way to start the day than sitting down to watch #DayBreak with a cuppa for you and a glass of Ribena Plus for the kids!”
THIS is the most accurate toy representation of a real cat ever:
AS things heat up in Ukraine and the ever-precarious Middle East continues its pattern of unrest, we feel a tinge of concern for our Western economies hanging by a thread and our natural resources plundered at an unsustainable rate. In such a state of affairs it is only natural that we, as a global community, band together and take a look at some truly awful toys. It’s the right thing to do.
“Luscious Limbs” is more than a little bit macabre. Sissy’s fiendish delight at gnawing on a human ear is particularly distressing.
VLADIMIR Putin, scourge of gays, is now a homosexual act prevention device.
It’s not yet Government issues in Russia, but give it time…
But do use the enema before serving:
WE get to see the face of God in Robert Crumb’s Book Of Genesis. But was the representation of the Creator accurate? In 1974, Crumb gave us another image of God, one based on Philip K. Dick’s memory.
Dick’s Divine vision was triggered by seeing a delivery girl,who was wearing a Jesus fish on a chain about her neck. Dick had taken LSD:
In that instant, as I stared at the gleaming fish sign and heard her words, I suddenly experienced what I later learned is called anamnesis—a Greek word meaning, literally, “loss of forgetfulness.” I remembered who I was and where I was. In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, it all came back to me. And not only could I remember it but I could see it. The girl was a secret Christian and so was I. We lived in fear of detection by the Romans. We had to communicate with cryptic signs. She had just told me all this, and it was true.
For a short time, as hard as this is to believe or explain, I saw fading into view the black, prisonlike contours of hateful Rome. But, of much more importance, I remembered Jesus, who had just recently been with us, and had gone temporarily away, and would very soon return. My emotion was one of joy. We were secretly preparing to welcome Him back. It would not be long. And the Romans did not know. They thought He was dead, forever dead. That was our great secret, our joyous knowledge. Despite all appearances, Christ was going to return, and our delight and anticipation were boundless.
ONE thing you’ll find when looking through magazines from the 1930s and 40s is an amazing array of soap and constipation adverts. It’s as if the world was ravaged by body odor and irregularity. Ad after ad proclaims the wonders of this fantastical object called “soap” – lives are changed by its tremendous power to rid even the smelliest among us of their funk. But that was only half the battle, because mankind still cowered helplessly beneath the specter of constipation. Countless adverts announce their special cure for this dread disease.
THE MIRACLE OF SOAP
This bride literally would have died a miserable old maid had it not been for Lifebuoy soap. Evidently, her fiancé was so disgusted by her rank smell he was about to call off the wedding – until her friend introduced her to the World of Soap. A close call – but it does make one wonder what other basic hygiene tools our young bride has yet to discover.
“Sure he picked a beautiful bride…. but oh, that ‘B.O.’!”
This advert is from ten years later (1947) – The War is over, Western Nation economies are on the rise, and all is right with the world… but the women still smell horrible. Let’s take this ad step by step: Here we have a newly married couple who are attending a party. Unfortunately, the young bride is shaming her husband by her amazing level of body odor.
“Oh, darling, I’ve failed you!”
Yes, honey, you may as well purchase a one-way bus ticket out of town. Ted will explain that you “had an accident”. Indeed, with the neighbors whispering about your incredible funk, your job as wife is an abject failure….. but wait, what’s this? It seems Ted just happens to have in his possession a bar of soap.
And, of course, the miracle of soap once again saves a marriage, and possibly a life…. but not before we get to see Ted’s wife naked.
“You know how men are, Gail! They like to be proud of their sweethearts and wives! Besides, you must admit there’s not much allure in dry, lifeless, old-looking skin!”
As usual, soap is sold to guard against shaming the godlike husbands. In this case, the woman’s repugnant smell isn’t the issue, it’s her disgusting skin. Back then, that was grounds for a husband to literally put his wife out to pasture.
Yet another woman spared eternal shame because she hasn’t been exposed to the wonders of soap. You’ll note it has an endorsement from film noir dame “Joan Bennett, Walter Wanger Star”. Wanger was a film producer and Bennett’s third husband. He ended up causing quite a scandal when he shot Bennett’s agent (he suspected they were having an affair). Bennett went on to star in Dark Shadows and Suspiria (1977). But I digress…
THE SCOURGE OF CONSTIPATION
“Actual cases on record of constipation relieved” – and all it requires is for you to garrote yourself in the most foolish way possible. Personally, I’d choose bran flakes cereal over this spectacle of degradation… but that’s just me.
I know constipation is a bummer – God knows it can put a damper on a day. That being said, if your constipation is causing the sort of misery where life isn’t worth living, you’ve got a very special constipation indeed. I don’t know what HOOD-LAX is, but it sounds potent. Might I suggest some late night Mexican food and a frothy pint of HOOD-LAX and make life worth living!
From devastated to cheerfully building a wall within two hours – that’s pretty damn impressive. I understand it’s not exactly fun to wake up constipated, but she seems clinically depressed – “the world’s all wrong” she exclaims. I wonder if that Sal Hepatica not only helps loosen the stool, but also has a little “happy sauce” in the ingredients as well. Either that or this chick is bi-polar.
Are you noticing a pattern here with the constipation symptoms? It’s not annoyance at abdominal pain, it’s depression. Clearly, there was something else going on here in women that was erroneously being blamed on constipation. Any armchair sociologists out there who’d like to posit a theory? I’d love to hear it.
SAUDI hero of the day is the cleric who has issued as fatwa against fatsos:
A Saudi cleric named Saleh al-Fawzan has issued a fatwa against all-you-can-eat buffets in Saudi Arabia.
Fawzan said the value and quantity of the food sold should be pre-determined before hand.
“Whoever enters the buffet and eats for 10 or 50 riyals without deciding the quantity they will eat is violating Sharia (Islamic) law,” Fawzan was quoted on al-Atheer channel.
So. There you are – Islamic law is not so very different to the moral laws this country’s health experts have introduced.